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Where are we at now

My final playtest has finished and TONS of stuff has been reworked and fixed up. I still have a few more things to go through that the testers have sent me, which also shortens my own list of things that are still on it.

The big thing left is finishing up the final encounter with the actual final guy final final battle final. I left it unfinished when the project was 'finished' back late in late June. Both so I didn't simply go "IT'S DONE, RELEASE IT!" before it should be released and to screw with the testers.

There was definitely a lot to fix and I figured this final playtest would take at least a month, considering I knew there were a few things that would need to be completely reworked. Some of them being those early bosses. When everything is done, I'll be running through the game one more time, but don't fret, it's going to be primarily me debug mode'ing (what?) into all the events to make sure all the stuff triggers like it should and that I didn't break any of that last minute. Should only take an afternoon. There's a lot, but I'm not going to be checking dialogue or actually 'playing' the game, all that's been done. I'll just be checking to make sure it all works still, because I'm paranoid like that.

Of those two trailers I mentioned, one is nearly done, and the other is in the works now. I've seen one of them and it was pretty nice. Looking forward to what the other one shows and how it themes itself. (The only big rule was they couldn't show anything from the final level.)


We're Looking Good Here

I'm at the tail end of my final playthrough of the game. We (well the testers mostly) are nitpicking the balls out of the game and finding all those little nagging things. Not everything will be addressed of course. I'd like the game to be released this month and not in 5 years from now. I'd be (somewhat) happy with releasing the game right now. It's in so much better shape than it was even 2 weeks ago. However, there are still a few things that need to be addressed and I'm also awaiting on not one, but two trailers for the game that people are being super cool about making for it. Those will be announced when both have been shown to me. I'll also be making a thread on the talkhaus about the game when that time comes. I say there specifically since that's where the majority of the players come from.


I'm Still Here

No worries, things are still happening and DT3 is very close. Its been a strange month. Very stressful in a lot of ways, so I haven't been all 'here' lately. Things have been angering and disappointing as well. But luckily stuff is returning to normal.

DT has not been the source of any of this. Its been nice to see the project coming to a close actually and see all the pieces coming together. Still some work to do on it before it sees its way to you. It'll get there, very soon.


Nearly Release Time

The game is done, well has been done for a few weeks. I'm currently running through the game with a list of things that I want done before it's released. I've given a build to some people and seeing how a completely new player to DT3 plays it. Especially the first few chapters. Though they do all have that unfinished version from weeks ago. (Same version the testers currently have. (No Brian, you're getting the final one.)) :P

Even before I started watching them, there's been some substantial changes to the game, specifically early on. The problem areas seem to mostly be with how some elements of the game are presented in the beginning parts of the game, not necessarily with the content itself. Which is good for me, since I can easily fix that.

A lot of the changes are things like adding sound, which has helped quite a bit with making things just feel better. That's actually the biggest thing that needed changing. (Other than the beginning parts needing a bit more clarity for some of the game's mechanics.) There's a few bugs on the list, but they're not game breaking bugs. They will be fixed though.

Overall, the game is in a good place, not to the point where I want to release it just yet of course, but it really is looking good. Watching the new players fumble mostly over things that aren't explained too well is pretty hopeful for me.

Note for those that played the demo way back in the age of dinosaurs. It has been removed again, this time forever!! Anyway, the game is much different than what you may remember from the demo. The beginning areas are actually a bit more difficult, mostly the bosses. The early bosses were pretty forgettable and have been given a bit more bite.

So when is it going to be released? When I'm ready for it to be, is the most honest answer I can give. I'm shooting for late July. (Doubt it though, I don't think I'll be happy with the game by then.) So early August probably.


Fighting Myself

The best things (at least I feel) that I've made for DT3 have always come after I have internal battles with myself about it or a big decision regarding it.  I've typically found the harder decision to make to be the better one. I don't mean in terms of hard to execute, but something that has potential to be controversial. To go more in-depth with that word, I don't mean culturally or socially controversial, but simply within the game itself. (Though it does dive into a few harsh things from time to time, unlike its predecessors.)

The end of the game, not the ending itself, but the entirety of the final sequences has been a fight for me since the project began. There has always been a specific way that I've wanted to end the trilogy. Both in gameplay and story. Now that I've been actually making these final bits and I see that original plan going through, I'll be honest and say I'm super happy with keeping with my first thoughts. There's been many times the past few years that I've thought to end the game another way because another idea would be more what's expected and better received. DT3's development has been more mindful of the end user than DT1 ever was, and that's not bad at all. But when it came to big decisions, and deciding to go with what could be better received, I preferred to go with my way.

While DT1 is super flawed in many respects, doing things my way worked out pretty well for the game in a lot of ways. Some of its more odd decisions had some of the best responses. That's not in itself a justification for it. I've found that if I'm happy with it, regardless of how it's received, I like it.

Something I did give in on, was including easy mode into DT3. And almost immediately after, I thought, 'I should disable easy mode for the Nightmare levels.' I've fought with that idea. Even some of the testers mentioned that could be a thing. I don't think the conversation itself needs to be cited, but I did turn it down, despite already thinking I should do that anyway to preserve what I initially had. Easy mode isn't something I really wanted to include in the game, however it is staying and I understand its utility. That said, it is going to be off-limits for the Nightmare gates in the final version, including what they lead up to.

In the decisions for the game when I was conflicted, nearly all of them came down to how I felt about it and no other metric. I made DT1 for fun and to be this thing that was mine, I've always felt my best stuff is when I go with that. The game is, in the end, something I want to make and nothing else.

I'd like to make a note that this isn't against my testers or critique/feedback from them. That's a whole separate thing from what this post is going on about. They've provided a countless amount of help. There's a TON of little things, nagging things that would annoy the player, that if the testers weren't around, would still be there. And in some cases, big things that have impacted the game in a huge way have come from them.


Worlds and Characters

Grackles. Okay cool, I got the bird thing out of the way for this post.

Wait no, I do have grackle things to post. Here's a video where I do the near-daily catch game with these three male grackles.

And here's another where a mother feeds her rather noisy offspring. Watch your volume, they get loud up close like this. (I'm a derp for not dropping the volume on the video.)

DT3 World and Characters
I may have mentioned it before, but I prefer character driven stories the most. And really, stories that have well developed characters over well developed worlds. I've been thinking more about this as I start to think on what I'm going to do next. (And I finally know what I'm making after DT3.) Distorted Travesty is weird to me in that sense because it develops the world more than it does the characters. Admittedly the third game does a lot more in developing its characters than DT1 did, with a bit more focus on Claire than the others, at least in my opinion. But I still find that it favors world building over characters. Especially now that the world is already set up prior to the game starting. I find it weird since I generally make what I enjoy most and I did the opposite when it comes to story telling.

When it comes to making games, I always start with a gameplay idea in mind and then think about some of its functions and nuances and how they can be used in possible game scenarios. From there, I write characters to fit that gameplay, which then leads to building the world around those characters. DT did things different, where it was: Gameplay -> World -> Characters. Thinking back on when I started the first DT game, a lot of things were simply to justify running through worlds of various video games and my odd take on them. I just needed characters to fill that world.

That's probably why I enjoyed the writing itself more in DT3 than in DT1. While there is a lot of world building, which I think is natural at the state of things when DT3 starts. I wrote DT3 with the characters in mind first. Such as giving the protagonists a bit more personality and SOME backstory. More importantly (well for me anyway) were the antagonists and what they mean in the story.

Future Things
I won't say exactly what I'm working on next, however the thing I've always really liked are asymmetrical multiplayer gameplay. Meaning, multiplayer games where each player has a different control scheme or play style. More specifically, taking those examples and each player is also working towards the same goal. I've played around with this sort of thing here and there, even over the course of developing DT3.

About a year ago, I linked a very rough example of something I made about 5 years ago. (and it hasn't gotten any love since then either) I linked a Breakout variation (which I will also link again) where all four sides are open and there is a paddle on each side. Up/Down controls the left/right paddles, and Left/Right controls the upper/lower paddles. There is also other things occurring that require the mouse to be used along with this. The idea being one player takes control of the paddles and the other uses the mouse. Eventually there was going to be something else the mouse user had to watch and react to as well, but you know, the game didn't get much love. It IS beatable. (though nothing happens when you clear the board) A friend of mine who helped me decide on power ups and mechanics beat it along with me.

I've been thinking a lot about really going into this sort of thing as it has always been an interest of mine. The idea of differing play-styles working toward a single goal specifically is what I have in mind.


DT3 Is Soon

DT3 will be done this month!

That doesn't mean it will be released this month. I still have some cleaning up and a bit of bugfixing to do. My estimation is somewhere between July 11 - 18, as I'd like to have time for the testers to give me their last bit of feedback and to be able to iterate on that, if necessary.

Of course I'll still be doing bugfixes and such after the game is released as I'm 100% sure things will slip through. I'd like to, of course, have as much of it as solid as I reasonably can before that.

So yeah, be looking forward to DT3 in the middle of July!